Chef Goff’s demonstration was a Confit Chicken with Kimchi Collards, Roasted Potatoes and Kimchi Beurre Blanc. This was presented at the Organic Growers School Spring Conference at UNCA on Saturday March 8, 2014.
I could tell that one of Steven’s passions was the fermentation of vegetables, well, probably the fermentation of almost anything!
Chef Goff’s incorporation combining fermented vegetables with other dishes added a new level of excitement for me. When Steven first passed a sample of his pickled turnips to the attendees, the audience became quiet. Was it the anticipation of what was ahead, or were they were stunned by the heat from pepper flakes, spices and fermentation? This was a good thing!
Chef Goff displays a lot of creativity. He has just opened his new restaurant, King James Public House on Charlotte Street. He is also an instructor at AB-Tech’s Culinary School and has lent his talents to local restaurants such as Zambra and Ben’s Tune-Up.
Steven has such a wealth of experience, that he was easily able to answer the many questions from the audience. Questions ranged from the types of salt used in the brining solutions, to the types of vessels that can be used for the fermentation process. He took us step by step (and many side steps) into the world of using a multitude of vegetables, available spices, and herbs.
Salt is essential to the fermentation process. He suggests using a 5% solution on the washed and rinsed vegetables (be careful of the type of salt used -KNOW YOUR SALT.) Then he showed us how the vegetables are “bruised” by hand. This allows the vegetables to weep the excess water. Do not throw away this liquid as it may come in handy in the final packing of the jars where fermentation takes place.
What distinguishes Kimchi from a pickled vegetable is the Kimchi sauce in which the vegetable are fermented. This is made of flour, sugar, onion, garlic, ginger, leeks and chilies and you might consider using ramps and your favorite peppers.
When cooking the collards, Chef Goff added Kimchi, brown sugar, and cider vinegar to bring out a sweet/sour flavor. I usually add only a pinch of sugar and garlic when cooking collards but my attitude has now shifted! Asian but Southern with a twist
Steven’s next enlightenment was “What is Confit” and why are we tossing all the wonderful fat (chicken, duck, or pork) that we render while frying meats or making meat stock? By using the “fat” to cover the chicken and baking it in an oven at 350 to 400 degrees, we can achieve a “deep fat frying” technique. We can then use the fat for additional dishes in the future as it keeps well.
The confit chicken prepared by Steven had a texture that was full of flavor and the skin on the chicken was engaging, making me want to just eat the skin. The Kimchi Beurre Blanc spooned over the chicken and potatoes, reminded me of great French dishes and I went back for more!
This was such a question filled and informative session that it went on until the very last second and still people kept approaching Steven and asking where his restaurant was located and if they could dine there this evening! A very masterful approach to integrating fermented foods into our southern cuisine!